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February 15th 2016
Published: February 16th 2016
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SRI LANKA. Formerly known as Ceylon is a tiny island in the south of India. The capital city is called Colombo and most of the country's population practice Buddhism.

From Dubai, we flew to Sri Lanka via Sri Lankan airlines. The flight duration is about 4 hours 25 minutes. If you book the flight early, you can get a return ticket for just 995 AED. For the visa, you can actually have it upon arrival, but I certainly advise to apply online to save time. And for the currency, you can either use USD or Sri Lankan rupees.

COLOMBO. We were picked up at the airport courtesy of our hotel's car. We want to escape the city's chaos so we only spent one day checking out the main city. Went to some tourist spots: Gangaramaya temple, Beira lake, Viharamahadevi park and Seema Malaka Temple. We stayed overnight at GSH Colombo and traveled south to Unawatuna the next day, c/o the hotel driver, which we hired for about $400 (Colombo-Unawatuna-Colombo). The hotel is clean, comfy and not pricey at all--ideal for an overnight stay.

UNAWATUNA. It is a major tourist magnet because of its beautiful beaches. Via a private car, it usually takes 2 hours from the main city depending on the traffic and the stops you'll have to make to take some photos. In our case, it took us 3 hours. We want to try a unique accommodation so we decided to stay in Galawatta Beach Cabanas. It's like a modern nipa hut, very cozy but no AC, just a ceiling fan and is 5 feet away from the shore (the lagoon outside the cabana is amazing), so it is kinda cool in the evening. Also, since it is just few feet away from the shore, you can hear the waves hitting the rocks especially at night. So if you prefer a quiet environment to fall asleep, cross this place out of your list.

The guy who's managing the resort and the staffs were really nice and very accommodating. They serve home-cooked meals and you can actually request outside the menu. You can also try the restaurant in Wijaya Beach House, just 10-15 minutes walk from the cabana. They serve variety of well cooked food. In general, the food in Sri Lanka is very cheap.

We came to this country to relax, so we didn't plan specific activities. We tried surfing though in Unawatuna, there's a beach there where the waves are not as big compared to other beaches, I forgot the name of the beach, but I am sure the locals could tell you where it is. It was my first surfing experience, so we hired a surfing instructor, which we met at the Top Secret Beach Bar, a cool place to chill and drink in Hikaduwa (30 min drive from Unawatuna). Found out, it's fun riding the waves, despite one sprained pinky toe. 😊

We also wanna do some snorkeling and scuba diving, but the water visibility during that time was bad so we opt out to do those activities.

GALLE. Is a major city in Sri Lanka, approximately 20-minutes tuktuk ride from where we stayed. We visited the Galle fort, the light house, international stadium and spent the rest of the day roaming around the city. Locals are really nice and there were lots of tourists so we were comfortable walking on the street. Just so you know, thousands were killed in this city alone during the December 26, 2004, tsunami caused by Indian Ocean earthquake.

WEATHER. We traveled in July so the southern coastal areas of the island is still under the summer monsoon. Rainfall is expected but it is not as wet compared to the previous month. I am not sure if we were just lucky but we never experienced a heavy rain; just two consecutive nights of rainfalls. During daytime, weather's perfect for light clothing--shorts, tops and flipflops.

FYI. It is advised to have Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines minimum of 2 weeks before traveling to Sri Lanka and the mandatory childhood vaccines. Plus, don't forget to bring your insect repellent spray/lotion.

If you want to escape the busy and haywire life of big cities, this small country near the South-east of India is an ideal place for a getaway. We surely enjoyed our 8 days stay in this beautiful country.

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